Drivers licences on phones and all the legal issues that come with it

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New South Wales is way ahead of the world in their willingness to enable drivers to display a valid driver’s license via their Smartphone. In 2017 the idea was proposed and the legislature got to work on turning this state of the art possibility into a reality. While the delay has been long and glitches have occurred, the public is now able to show valid identification with a touch of their Smartphone screen.

How Do I Get My Licence on my Smartphone? 

The App is available at Service NSW, available for download here. Initially, the App must be uploaded to your phone, then you must follow the given instructions to gain access to your driver’s license. The process is simple, however, it is important to remain patient while attempting to access this new function as there have been issues over the past weeks with access and proper installation. Once the App is properly installed and your phone is part of the system, you should be able to access your license on your Smartphone with ease and efficiency.

What Restrictions Are There? 

There are some very important caveats to the use of this App for identification purposes. First, not all venues are accepting the App as valid identification. Therefore, you might find that when making some purchases the vendor or business may still require your plastic driver’s license. And because there is no set time frame for which businesses and vendors have to adopt the digital identification process, patience will again be required by all for an unspecified period of time.

The next caution is most important for the successful use of the digital driver’s license. The user is one hundred per cent responsible for;

  1. A Smartphone screen that is not cracked thereby making it possible for the police, place of business or vendor to scan and accurately read your driver’s license.
  2. That the Smartphone is adequately charged at all times to allow for access to the user’s identification.

In the event that the person attempting to use the Smartphone version of their driver’s license is not in compliance with the above requirements, then a plastic license must be made available to the officer or business you are trying to work with. If you cannot produce the plastic version of your driver’s license for proper identification, you will be subject to the same penalties as always.

Legally there are some additional components that all users must be aware of. These include;

  • The system is not valid in areas of Australia that have not adopted the new technology. Hence the digital license can currently only be used in South Australia and New South Wales Australia. If you are travelling through any other part of Australia, you will need to have your plastic driver’s license on your person.
  • In the event you are stopped for a traffic violation do not pick up your phone until you are asked to show identification by the officer on the scene. It is still illegal to be holding your phone while driving your car. Hence, if you have your phone in your hand before the officer requests your form of identification, you can be cited for a violation.
  • The law does not require you to physically hand over your phone for viewing or verification. However, if after attempting to pull up your digital identification, you are experiencing difficulties, it is best to produce your plastic license.

Finally, there are safety and security issues to contend with. While all involved agencies have taken the utmost precautions to prevent identity theft, it can still happen. Therefore, in the event that you lose your driver’s license, you must report it immediately so as to activate the process of showing your license as lost or stolen in the system. The loss or cancellation will show up in the system immediately. Lastly, the digital license contains a hologram to help ensure complete protection for all users.

This new technology is both innovative and exciting for all those who designed, implemented and are now using it to its greatest advantages. And, as long as those who are accessing the system are aware of its attributes and responsibilities, everyone should be able to use it easily and successfully.

If you find yourself in need of assistance with this or any other legal issue, please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.

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